- Photo Essays
Picture this: you are sitting in an idyllic place, overlooking the Aegean Sea, enjoying the peace…and then two cruise ships berth out of nowhere, literally hundreds of people spill onto the shore and are shuffled military-style throughout aforementioned idyllic place.
General chaos ensues. Peace is shattered.
If that is not your idea of a Greek paradise then the Mykonos’ and Santorinis of the Greek Islands are not going to be what, well…floats your boat.
Santorini is a visual treat. It rises out of the water like something straight out of Homer’s Odyssey and the views from the top of the ‘crater’ island are unforgettable. And we all familiar with the famous Santorini sunsets.
All that considered, I have never had any desire to go back to Santorini because my strongest memory is of the literal hordes of people. It took the magic out of it and I was there outside of the peak season?
While I was in the Greek Islands recently, I spoke to two young backpackers who, having just come from Mykonos, were enamoured with the laid-back, authentic ‘Greek’ atmosphere of Paros Island.
“The crowds in Mykonos were like nothing we’ve ever seen,” they said wide-eyed, “The cruise ships just kept on coming. Hundreds and hundreds of people each day.”
They were in Mykonos in early May.
Paros Island is off the cruise ship path, and so it doesn’t get the same sort of crowds. It has retained its traditional appeal and it is incredibly chilled out, particularly in the villages outside the port town of Parikia.
Head into the tiny hill towns or the pretty villages on the coast and you will start to feel like you are really in Greece.
You still have the whitewash buildings, the beaches, the mesmerising colors of the Aegean, the very ‘Greek island’ atmosphere…..it’s just all a bit more real; more authentic. There is not the glitz or glamour of the other two islands but to me this works in its favour.
Despite the dismal economic situation in Greece, the Parian’s spirit is somewhat shaken but not defeated. They are holding fast, determined to bring any possible good out of a bad situation.
Tourism on these smaller Greek Islands has dropped dramatically. Accommodations that would usually be booked months in advance for these summer months have rooms still waiting to be filled.
Greece gets a pretty bad wrap on CNN and other global news channels. At the first sign of any political rally or unrest, the media is all over it, like vultures.
I understand that unrest makes people nervous but there are two things worth keeping in mind if this is the reason you are hesitating about travelling to Greece….
In the evenings on Paros, the streets are peaceful and life goes on as usual.
I pass older couples out enjoying the traditional volta (evening stroll), the squares are filled with sounds of children laughing and playing and the tavernas are brightly lit, serving traditional Greek food by the plateful.
No matter what their political and economic situation is, Greece is still Greece. And visiting the Greek Islands now, is still as wonderful as it always was.
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If you are worried about what will happen to the value of your Euro if Greece leaves the European Union, read this informative article by Reena at Wanderplex to get an overview of the situation and where you stand.